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Blogger reaction to Specter switch:

National Journal Online today has a collection of reactions from top political bloggers regarding Senator Specter's return to the Democratic party (which he had left in 1965). We asked to comment on both the short-term and the long-term. My comments: "Short-term: Will save the national Senate Republican old bulls a lot of money that they would have wasted in trying to rescue Specter in the Republican primary. Long-term: After the 2014 election leaves the Senate with a 50-50 split, Specter will quietly offer to switch back to Republican, on the condition that he be Judiciary Committee Chairman."

Frog Leg (mail):

After the 2014 election leaves the Senate with a 50-50 split


I could see the Democrats having about 50 seats by then. I have no idea what party would have the other 50. Surely not the GOP.
4.29.2009 11:43am
Nathan_M (mail):
If you have any confidence in your prediction I would happily give you odds of 10-1 against.
4.29.2009 11:44am
Cityduck (mail):
I was going to bet straight up.
4.29.2009 11:47am
bloodstar (mail) (www):
David, I do believe you have managed to cross the line between "Optimistic" and "Delusional" with the idea of a 50-50 split in the Senate. if Snowe and Collins jump ship, which is not at all unthinkable in the current purification climate gripping the Republican party, you'll be down to a 38-60-2 split before the 2012 elections.

And while it's a ways out, there's a distinct possibility you will see NH, MO, KY, FL, OH, and NC all flip to the Democrats.

Contrast that with CT, CO, and maybe IL in play on the Democrat side and you could be looking at a 65-35 Senate after 2010.

I'd love to see you reasoning for 2012. Would you mind following up how the tea leaves sort out for you?
4.29.2009 11:52am
Baseballhead (mail):
My favorite comment shows that someone out there knows what makes the world turn:
"It's always nice when crass, political self-preservation tilts in favor of your party." Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit
4.29.2009 11:52am
Cityduck (mail):
What are the present odds on Snowe or Collins switching? I think it more likely we'll hit 65 Democrats before we hit 50. A telling quote:


"The blunt reality is that we're losing another key moderate who has played a key role in the Republican Party ... If the Republican Party fully intends to become a majority party in the future, they will clearly have to move from the right toward the middle," Snowe said. "That was certainly indicative in the last election, and it's certainly indicative in the polls that are being released. The leadership here understands that.

"I haven't abandoned those principles that have been the essence of the Republican Party. I think the Republican Party has abandoned those principles," Snowe added.


The Republicans have moved so far right that Goldwater and Ike wouldn't be welcome. Back in 1980, who would have thought that the Republicans were headed for regional/religious party status?
4.29.2009 11:52am
Franklin Drackman:
Don't wanta be a meanie but Senator Spector's got about as much chance of bein sworn in January 2011 as Ronnie Spector... or Ted Kennedy...
Did Zell Miller get this much coverage when he switched??
4.29.2009 11:52am
Cityduck (mail):
Zell Miller didn't switch parties as a Senator.
4.29.2009 11:58am
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Zell Miller didn't switch parties as a Senator.

According to his wiki, he's still a D.
4.29.2009 12:05pm
zywotkowitz:
It's quite interesting to read liberals claiming that the Republicans have moved to the right since Reagan.

Anyone who was around back then would remember the extreme opprobrium that Reagan received on security issues like the invasion of Grenada and missile defense, on social issues like school prayer and Moral Majority support.

It's cute how Reagan's reputation seems to have changed drastically. Libs increasingly seem to think that Reagan was Giuliani.
4.29.2009 12:09pm
D.O.:
With such rosy perspectives, why didn't Repubs. boot Specter themselves? What if he were so inconsidered and didn't switch?
4.29.2009 12:26pm
rosetta's stones:
Yeah, I have to agree. Over the last 40 years, the Left politicians have shifted further left, and the Right politicians have shifted left as well.

Where's the country? That's the real question. I doubt we see that question answered until the bills come due... and that should be within the next 5 years or so. That's when the real political bloodletting will begin, which is the date likely driving Kopel's prediction.

Obama can temper some of that coming fallout, if he can manipulate the 2010 census and redistricting, which he appears feverishly trying to do, but it's still gonna fallout when those bills come due.

Not that either political party merits profiting from that fallout, because they all deserve to be sent to Guantanamo.

But, as the cash dries up, we'll see the states start smacking back. That may be where the real action takes place, as the Beltway bandits subside in influence, which they only have as long as they're paying for it with borrowed money.
4.29.2009 12:35pm
U.Va. Grad:
Don't wanta be a meanie but Senator Spector's got about as much chance of bein sworn in January 2011 as Ronnie Spector... or Ted Kennedy...

Obama and Rendell promised to support him in the Democratic primary (though coverage I've seen varies on whether that comes with conditions), which would destroy any chance of a primary attack from the left. And almost no one seriously thinks Toomey can beat him in the general; it was the Republican primary where Specter would have lost.
4.29.2009 12:47pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Don't wanta be a meanie but Senator Spector's got about as much chance of bein sworn in January 2011 as Ronnie Spector... or Ted Kennedy...


Obama and Rendell promised to support him in the Democratic primary (though coverage I've seen varies on whether that comes with conditions), which would destroy any chance of a primary attack from the left. And almost no one seriously thinks Toomey can beat him in the general; it was the Republican primary where Specter would have lost.


I think he was referring to Specter's age and health issues (Hodgkin's disease).
4.29.2009 12:50pm
Johnny Ryall:
zywotkowitz: It has as much to do with style and political acumen as it does ideology. Yeah, Reagan was very conservative but he also united people by staying positive. He wanted people to vote for him, even if they didn't agree with him all the time. So he seemed less conservative.

With the highly charged rhetoric they spew forth every day, the modern Republican party has made it abundantly clear that moderates are not welcome and ideological purity matters above everything else. This is a product of Bush's unpopularity since only Congress members from very right wing districts feel it's politically expedient to speak out and they naturally are going to speak to their most loyal constituents (those on the fringe). So people naturally assume they've moved further to the right because as far as everyone can tell the party pretty much only consists of extreme right wing ideologues. It's not liberals making things up: it's politics.
4.29.2009 12:51pm
PC:
Zell Miller didn't switch parties as a Senator.

In Miller's case the Democrats left him behind too. He just never made the jump, like many other Dixiecrats.
4.29.2009 1:06pm
Cityduck (mail):
Barry Goldwater was pro-choice, pro-gay in the military, and thought that religious right was "a bunch of kooks."

Reagan cultivated the religious right for their votes, but wasn't particularly religius and did little to advance their agenda. He appointed pro-choice Jurists to the Supreme Court (O'Connor and Kennedy). And even he drew the line at some of the religious right's shenanigans: Reagan vigorously opposed a 1978 California ballot initiative sponsored by religious conservatives that would have barred homosexuals from teaching in the public schools, writing in an op ed: "Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual's sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child's teachers do not really influence this."

What has happened since Reagan's time is that the religious conservatives have taken over the Republican Party. The religious right went from being Reagan's useful idiots to being actually in control.
4.29.2009 1:09pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

He appointed pro-choice Jurists to the Supreme Court (O'Connor and Kennedy).

Kennedy was a third choice, but how did they let O'Connor get there? Surely back then there were conservative female jurists like the ones Bush put on the appeal courts?
4.29.2009 1:45pm
rosetta's stones:
Here's the thing though. I don't give a rat's ass about either of these 2 political parties, but if you're looking for the most current evolutionary phase of them both, you need only look to Reagan's state of California. There, you have the sum total of all of this, and from both of these 2 miserable groups of political hacks. All of the wonderful concepts are in place and churning... all of them... they got it all.

Unfortunately, as a nation, that's where we are all heading... to California status. Hope you like it. Hope your children like it, because they're gonna be paying for it, assuming they can find a job.

And this partisan bickering about the other guy being worse is ridiculous, to those looking in on it. They both suck. They're both bankrupting us, and contributing to our decline as a nation.

California has sometimes been the genesis of some good political ideas, maybe they will be here as well. We'll need those ideas in a short while here, when the bills come due. Go Cali.
4.29.2009 1:47pm
Dave N (mail):
I love the political revisionism of Cityduck, who apparently believes that Ronald Reagan thought that either Sandra Day O'Connor or Anthony Kennedy were pro-choice (heck, I'd like to see someone seriously argue TODAY that Tony Kennedy is pro-choice).
4.29.2009 1:48pm
Dave N (mail):
By the way, when it comes to abortion in particular, it is the Democratic Party that has been driven by a litmus test on the issue. It was the Democrats who refused to let the pro-life Governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Casey, speak at their convention because he strayed from their orthodoxy on the issue.

Can anyone point to a similar snub directed at a pro-choice Republican?
4.29.2009 1:52pm
Cityduck (mail):
Political revisionism?

Sandra Day O'Connor was opposed by anti-abortion groups and religious conservatives at the time she was nominated because they correctly saw her as pro-Choice. [As a state legislator in 1970 she'd voted to repeal a criminal ban on abortion and in 1974 voted against a measure to prohibit abortions.] The Washington Post ran headlines declaring that O'Connor was hated by conservatives and loved by liberals. A number of republican Senators, such as Jesse Helms, called the White House to complain about her nomination. Reagan's own diary reflects that the religious right was complaining to him at the time of her nomination that she was pro-choice. Michael Deaver has said that Reagan felt she would be a good moderate (which she indeed was).
4.29.2009 2:04pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
The buzz I'm getting from Pennsylvania Democrat contacts is that they don't like Spector, either, especially after the way he announced his switch, which Jon Stewart had a lot of fun mocking. It is highly mockworthy. The next senator from that state might be a Democrat but I'll bet it won't be Spector.

But we still have a lot of shoes to drop before the next election that could diminish the prospects of the Democrats (and the Republicans as well):
* Collapse of the commercial mortage bubble.
* Collapse of the consumer credit bubble.
* Collapse of at least two of the three U.S. automakers.
* Refusal of China and other foreign nations to buy our T-bills.
* Collapse of many of the pension funds.
* A run on all the banks when people lose confidence in the FDIC.
* Collapse of the insurance companies generally, signaled by their refusal to pay out for anything.
* Near cessation of international shipping, including oil.
* Near shutdown of international travel from disease scares.

Many shoes yet to drop. Many.
4.29.2009 2:04pm
Cityduck (mail):
As for Kennedy, when he was vetted by the Reagan Administration he made no secret of his support for the right of privacy and Griswold, and this caused concern amongst the anti-abortion folks involved in the selection process. Reagan selected him anyway.
4.29.2009 2:09pm
Dave N (mail):
Whenever I want to be cheered up about the future, I search out Jon Roland's predictions.
4.29.2009 2:10pm
geokstr (mail):

Johnny Ryall:
With the highly charged rhetoric they spew forth every day, the modern Republican party...

Right, none of that comes from the left, oh except for the left wing media, the left wing professoriat, leftwing political pundits tied at the hip to the Democrats, the left wing politicians and all the big left wing blogs. Perhaps you can't see or hear it because you agree with all of it.

Who's been using the Nazi, murderer, baby-killer, hater, racism, homophobic references for the last 8 years? Not just once or twice, or by fringe leftists either, but anchors at certain networks, columnists and editorials in newspapers and "news" magazines, etc, ad nauseum.

If you wallow in something nasty long enough, you can probably get so used to the smell and the taste that reasonably clean looks pretty awful to you.
4.29.2009 2:27pm
sonicfrog (mail) (www):

Kennedy was a third choice, but how did they let O'Connor get there? Surely back then there were conservative female jurists like the ones Bush put on the appeal courts?


Back in the day, the abortion issue was not nearly as polarizing, and the lobby on both sides were not nearly as powerful as they are now. Sure it was there, but I don't recall that being as divisive and decisive issue as it is today. And how are things today? We finally have a Sec of Human Health Services. Sebelius was nominated in Feb., and was opposed by Republicans for why.... for one reason and one reason alone - she supports abortion rights. Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Sebelius's record on the issue is a fatal character flaw that should have disqualified her from the HHS job.

A character flaw?????

Really?????

The only reason she got approved by some Republicans at this time is because they don't want to be see as the ones responsible for blocking the nomination during a possible pandemic outbreak.
4.29.2009 2:47pm
sonicfrog (mail) (www):
* Collapse of the commercial mortage bubble.
* Collapse of the consumer credit bubble.

* Collapse of at least two of the three U.S. automakers.

Happening as we speak

* Refusal of China and other foreign nations to buy our T-bills.

Very, very close

* Collapse of many of the pension funds.

Happening as we speak

* A run on all the banks when people lose confidence in the FDIC.

Probably not likely, though one never knows

* Collapse of the insurance companies generally, signaled by their refusal to pay out for anything.

Sliding toward this reality. (see hurricanes Katrina / Andrew)

* Near cessation of international shipping, including oil.
Or taken over by Pirates! Arrrrr!!!!!

* Near shutdown of international travel from disease scares.

If this happens, it will be temporary, but still have adverse effects on an already struggling economy.

Everyone have a nice day.
4.29.2009 2:54pm
wm13:
Roland forgot:

Major terrorist strike in America, perpetrated by people whom Obama released from Gitmo.
4.29.2009 3:02pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Plauge of frogs
murrain
smiting of the first born . . .
4.29.2009 3:14pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Franklin Drackman:

Did Zell Miller get this much coverage when he switched??

Zell Miller was never remotely as prominent or powerful a Senator as Arlen Specter. In fact, I'd never heard of him until he "switched," i.e., when he unloaded on Democrats at the '04 Republican Convention. And that was probably the most widely covered act in his political career. Yet, as others have pointed out, he never did actually switch.

In other words, what I take to be your implication that disparate coverage of the Specter and Miller incidents somehow validates the "vast left-wing media conspiracy" meme needs a little work.
4.29.2009 3:28pm
Snaphappy:
meteor hitting earth
alien invasion
rise of robots
crippling internet worm
nuclear war

many many shoes

many indeed
4.29.2009 3:38pm
Dave N (mail):
Leo Marvin,

The better question would be whether Richard Shelby (at that time a member of the U.S. Senate for 8 years after serving 4 terms in the House) or Ben Campbell (at the time of his switch a member of the U.S. Senate for 2 year after serving 3 terms in the House) received the same kind of coverage that Arlen Specter or Jim Jeffords did when switching parties.

If I a remembering correctly, the Shelby switch was somewhat expected and downplayed. The Campbell switch was unexpected but received much less press than the Jeffords switch did.
4.29.2009 3:46pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
Rock in Canary Islands collapses, creating tsunami.

Earth axis tips (overdue, in fact) killing everyone.

Cascade volcano in Yellowstone goes up.

Betelgeuse goes supernova (or already has) followed by days of x-rays bombarding the earth.

Jesus returns. In Salt Lake City :)
4.29.2009 3:49pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Zombies
collision with giant killer meteor
dinosaurs (brought back to life with ancient DNA) raging out of control. . .

All Obama's fault and leading to that 50-50 Senate split in 2014.
4.29.2009 3:53pm
Frank Snyder (mail):

Obama and Rendell promised to support him in the Democratic primary (though coverage I've seen varies on whether that comes with conditions), which would destroy any chance of a primary attack from the left.

I think it's unlikely they'll keep this promise. As the banks and auto companies have learned, the Administration has shown itself perfectly willing to change the terms of deals previously agreed to. Why on earth would they want a crotchety 80-year-old in a seat where they could handpick a nice reliable left-wing Democrat who'll be there for 30 years? They'll use him for two years and dump him. Though they'll give him a nice cushy job (Ambassador to Monaco?) on condition that he tells everyone he's just decided not to run for re-election.
4.29.2009 3:55pm
badger (mail):

By the way, when it comes to abortion in particular, it is the Democratic Party that has been driven by a litmus test on the issue. It was the Democrats who refused to let the pro-life Governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Casey, speak at their convention because he strayed from their orthodoxy on the issue.

Can anyone point to a similar snub directed at a pro-choice Republican?


God, you can smell the mothballs on that talking point. DEMOCRATS ELECTED ROBERT CASEY'S ANTI-CHOICE SON TO THE SENATE. The majority leader of the senate democrats is anti-choice. The new head of the DNC is anti-choice. Please read a newspaper before they go out of business and you are permanently stuck in 1992!
4.29.2009 4:00pm
rosetta's stones:
Slater, you're saying "zombies" like it's some kind of a joke or somethin'.

Well, the zombies are coming, and it's no joke. You'll see.

You'll all see, damnit!
4.29.2009 4:16pm
zuch (mail) (www):
rosetta's stones:
Yeah, I have to agree. Over the last 40 years, the Left politicians have shifted further left, and the Right politicians have shifted left as well.
Here's what you do: Stand up. Place right foot forward (actually doesn't matter which one, which may be propitious here). Place other foot behind. Swivel on both feet untill hips align with feet. Repeat twice. Look around. Much better, eh?

Cheers,
4.29.2009 4:21pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Dave N, projecting:
By the way, when it comes to abortion in particular, it is the Democratic Party that has been driven by a litmus test on the issue. It was the Democrats who refused to let the pro-life Governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Casey, speak at their convention because he strayed from their orthodoxy on the issue.
That hoary old fable again, eh? You folks never tire of it, do you? Perhaps because you folks feel a tad guilty yourselves?

Cheers,
4.29.2009 4:33pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Jon Roland:
But we still have a lot of shoes to drop before the next election that could diminish the prospects of the Democrats (and the Republicans as well):
* Collapse of the commercial mortage bubble.
* Collapse of the consumer credit bubble.
* Collapse of at least two of the three U.S. automakers.
* Refusal of China and other foreign nations to buy our T-bills.
* Collapse of many of the pension funds.
* A run on all the banks when people lose confidence in the FDIC.
* Collapse of the insurance companies generally, signaled by their refusal to pay out for anything.
* Near cessation of international shipping, including oil.
* Near shutdown of international travel from disease scares.
I think you need to take another look at the timelines there.

Cheers,
4.29.2009 4:35pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Dave,

The better question would be whether Richard Shelby (at that time a member of the U.S. Senate for 8 years after serving 4 terms in the House) or Ben Campbell (at the time of his switch a member of the U.S. Senate for 2 year after serving 3 terms in the House) received the same kind of coverage that Arlen Specter or Jim Jeffords did when switching parties.

No, nor should they have. As you pointed out, Shelby's move was one of a long line of Dixiecrat conversions, and as such a foregone conclusion. Ben Campbell I had to Google to remind myself who he was. (I confess that if you'd said Ben Nighthorse Campbell I would have placed him immediately.) But more importantly, neither Shelby's move nor Campbell's was remotely as consequential as Jeffords,' which changed control of the Senate from Republican to Democratic, or Specter's, which gives the Democrats a filibuster-proof super majority.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Even during the Clinton administration.
4.29.2009 4:39pm
geokstr (mail):

zuch:
Dave N, projecting:
By the way, when it comes to abortion in particular, it is the Democratic Party that has been driven by a litmus test on the issue.

Nice try at misdirection, but even if we grant you the Casey thing, where exactly is the anti-abortion faction of the Democratic party? How many of the judges all the way up to SCOTUS appointed by Democratic presidents are pro-life? Where are the Democratic congresscritters that voted for any restrictions on abortion? But there are lots of pro-choice Republicans, and we even had a guy who was a serious pro-choice presidential candidate in the primaries in 2008. (It makes no difference if that might have been one of the reasons he tanked, because when was the last time the Dems had a serious pro-life candidate?)

The reason Republicans are so often disappointed by the SCOTUS members they appoint is that they are frightened to death to even look for signs that their appointees are pro-life because the howling will start immediately about "litmus tests". The reason that Democratic appointees never disappoint is because, hey, if you're a Dem, there's never any doubt you're pro-choice.
4.29.2009 5:10pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Rosetta's Stone. Re zombies, see this by one my colleagues. We take the threat quite seriously at my institution, thank you very much.
4.29.2009 5:18pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
should be "by one OF my colleagues. . . ."
4.29.2009 5:19pm
James Gibson (mail):
Another tread were all the nuts come out, starting with the thread poster. Sorry folks, but a basic fact, none of you is the Delphi Oracle.

But I'll make certain points based on straight facts:

(1)Specter is on the way out. Though he concluded that he wouldn't win the Republican primary, I don't think he even considered whether he would win the Democratic. Forgetting that many Pennsylvanians switched parties to vote for Hillary (at Rush L's suggestion) was a big mistake. Forgetting even more that the Liberal left now runs most State Democratic machines, he may not be lefty enough to win their vote. I expect Chris Matthews of MSNBC to now run for the Democratic primary against him on the belief that once Specter is gone Chris will only then have to beat the new Republican candidate. Then they would be assured a true liberal Senator from Pennsylvania.

(2) Even if Specter survives to re-election, the guy will be 80 years old in 2010. He's already had health problems and they are only going to get worse. People were talking about McCain as pulling a William Henry Harrison if he was elected in 2008 and McCain is only 72. People love our old senators: Stevens of Alaska, Alan Cranston (who died at 86). But come on folks, open your eyes, he won't be making deals to come back in 2014.

(3) Cityduck states the RNC is now controlled by the Religious right. But who controls the DNC if not the Ultra-left. The Ultra-left opened the DNC door to the blue dogs only to regain the Congress, but they rein with an iron fist through Pelosi's office. They want gun prohibition, cap and trade, socialised medicine, card check, and the fairness doctrine which a majority of Americans can't stomach. But the Ultra-left know that they can now get these passed and when the people respond as they did in 1994, they will respond primarily against the blue dogs who will be challenged by new Republican faces. The Ultra-left will consolidate their resources to defend 41 Senate seats they believe they can hold and thus have the fillibuster. Yes, they will sacrifice the Blue dogs for their goals, which the ultra-left has done before.

(4) The tide is already turning towards the Republicans and several Dems are admitting to it. Boxer on Morning Joe may say the RNC is a compact umbrella, but she herself is telling her own people her re-election in 2010 will be hard. It is expected she will face for the first time in years a real challenge (the last was such a piece of wood he practically was a poster). Though the Republicans didn't win the recent New York congressional seat, the dems again had to run another blue dog just to hold ground.

Thus, there will be a republican party in 2010 and a convention in 2012 regardless of Donna Brazil's prediction. The only real question is will there be a straight battle between the two main parties or will we have a Nader or Perot to split up the votes.
4.29.2009 5:23pm
Leo Marvin (mail):

Nice try at misdirection, but even if we grant you the Casey thing, where exactly is the anti-abortion faction of the Democratic party?

You mean other than the Senate Majority leader?
4.29.2009 5:40pm
zuch (mail) (www):
geokstr:
Nice try at misdirection, but even if we grant you the Casey thing,...
... which was the precise subject of my initial comment on this topic. If those goalposts are too heavy, you have my permission to set them down for a spell.
[W]e even had a guy who was a serious pro-choice presidential candidate in the primaries in 2008. (It makes no difference if that might have been one of the reasons he tanked, because when was the last time the Dems had a serious pro-life candidate?)
"9/11!" Guliani was "serious"? News to me. The only ones that liked him were the media. The Republican base hated him. And it showed in one of the most dismal candidacies in recent history. And at least you acknowledge that he stood no chance at the Republican nod, and (at the very least) partially for that very reason. Tell me, which party has had the plank on abortion some two decades running, now?

Cheers,
4.29.2009 6:09pm
Dave N (mail):
zuch,

That would be both political parties. So I am not sure what your point is.
4.29.2009 8:06pm
GV:
Dave N said:

By the way, when it comes to abortion in particular, it is the Democratic Party that has been driven by a litmus test on the issue. . . . Can anyone point to a similar snub directed at a pro-choice Republican?

I know it's piling on at this point -- the Casey Myth, really Dave? -- but the only reason Lieberman was not selected as John McCain's running mate is because he was not pro-life. According to the man who ran McCain's campaign:

"It was communicated back to us very clearly from within the party that not only was Senator Lieberman not acceptable, but any pro-choice nominee was not acceptable, [and] it would lead to a floor fight at the convention with an alternate nominee for vice president put into play.

"Blowing up the party wasn't one of the menu items of things that were going to improve our situation," he said.
4.29.2009 8:15pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Dave N:
That would be both political parties. So I am not sure what your point is.
You made a claim specific to one political party (which is incorrect):
"[Dave N]: By the way, when it comes to abortion in particular, it is the Democratic Party that has been driven by a litmus test on the issue. It was the Democrats who refused to let the pro-life Governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Casey, speak at their convention because he strayed from their orthodoxy on the issue."
I was responding to that. Reverting to an attempted tu quoque is not particularly enlightening, either.

Cheers,
4.29.2009 8:24pm
Dave N (mail):
No. My point is that the Democratic Party has made abortion more of a litmus test issue than Republicans have--particularly with respect to allowing dissent on the abortion issue.

And I will turn it back. When is the last time a pro-life Democrat was seriously considered for Vice President? And if a Democratic Presidential nominee chose a pro-life running mate, I would expect to see a convention battle over that choice.
4.29.2009 8:36pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
When is the last time the Republicans chose a pro-choice House or Senate leader?
4.29.2009 8:38pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
... for that matter, a pro-choice, pro-Gun control leader?
4.29.2009 8:39pm
Dave N (mail):
Leo Marvin,

We can go tit-for-that. (I believe the answer to your question might be Robert Michel). But it is also a matter of how you define the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life."

Harry Reid earns a 29% from NARAL, but 50% from the National Right to Life Committee.

Mitch McConnell earns 0% from NARAL, and 100% from the NRLC.

Both polticians call themselves "pro-life." Their records are hardly identical.
4.29.2009 8:52pm
GV:
Dave, you're the one making the claims, so you should be the one supplying the evidence. But to answer your question, Tim Kaine, who is personally pro-life, was "seriously considered for Vice President" less than a year ago by the democrats.

Plan to keep back peddling? Or maybe just concede that the issue of abortion is something of a litmus test on both sides?
4.29.2009 8:54pm
Dave N (mail):
I am not saying it is not a litmus test for both parties. It surely is.

But my initial point is that if a pro-choice Republican wanted to speak at the Republican convention and express pro-choice views, I believe that Republican would be allowed to do so.

I cited a specific example (from 1992) when Robert Casey, then the Governor of Pennsylvania, was refused the privilege of speaking at his party's national convention because he opposed the Democratic plank on abortion.

I was accused of responding to a "hoary myth" linked to something from the less-than-credible Media Matters. Nat Hentoff has a different version in the New Republic. And while I know of and respect Nat Hentoff, another blogger for whom I cannot vouch has a longer response here.

I am the one who made a rather mild point and the invective came out.
4.29.2009 9:35pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Dave,

I agree we can go tit for tat, and I don't claim the Democrats are very good in this regard. But I dispute that they're worse than the Republicans. I'd say they're marginally better. And Bob Michel is precisely the argument for our side.

The Republican Party of my infancy had a significant moderate to liberal contingent. My Democratic parents happily voted for our Republican senators, governor and mayor (Javitz, Keating, Rockefeller, Lindsey). Bob Michel was among the last of that breed. If I remember correctly -- don't hold me to this, I don't have time to Google it -- he's lamented the same intolerant, extremist trends in the party that Specter just did.

The Democrats, on the other hand, while having lost its Dixiecrat wing, are at least making a concerted effort to recruit and elect centrist candidates. Webb, Tester, et al, exert a moderating influence that, thanks to Rush, Hannity, Levin and company, is in danger of vanishing completely from the Republican party.
4.29.2009 11:11pm
Dave N (mail):
Leo Marvin,

Yet the Republicans still have Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins--have recruited a centrist candidate (Meg Whitman) to run in California (where the centrist label is positive), have the most popular politician in Connecticut, Jodi Rell, have a centrist candidate who will likely be elected Governor of New Jersey this year, etc. etc.

I don't consider Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity to be the voice of the Republican Party any more than I would hope you do not consider Michael Moore to be the voice of the Democratic Party.
4.29.2009 11:26pm
GV:
Dave said:

But my initial point is that if a pro-choice Republican wanted to speak at the Republican convention and express pro-choice views, I believe that Republican would be allowed to do so.


Dave, but you're still wrong. Because even assuming the democrats didn't allow Casey to speak because he is pro-life -- again, totally dubious proposition -- other pro-life speakers did speak at that same exact convention. Really, please, give it up. You're wrong. You must know you're wrong.
4.30.2009 12:09am
Leo Marvin (mail):
Dave,

The long term trend in both parties has been troubling. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about which one has been worse.
4.30.2009 1:26am
Baseballhead (mail):
I don't consider Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity to be the voice of the Republican Party any more than I would hope you do not consider Michael Moore to be the voice of the Democratic Party.
Rush is patiently awaiting your apology.
4.30.2009 9:06pm
PSM (mail):
Specter never behaved like a republican and every chance i got i voted against him.
Besides we need term limits now and he is overdue for going out and finding a new job to help him save for his retirement. I don't think we should all pay for his retirement and salary for the rest of his life while we all struggle.

Anyway, he was always on the fence or even liberal for a republican. I always suspected he used the popular party to garner votes. And now he thinks democrats are popular, he is willing to go back to what he always was.

And he always voted what the democrats did - so it's no true change at all.
5.1.2009 12:12pm

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